Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

10 Teen Acne Treatments

By Dr. Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC, Double board-certified dermatologist

Almost all teens get acne. Fortunately, almost all teens can get acne under control, as long as they do not inadvertently make their acne worse by treatments that are too harsh for young, growing skin. Here are the top ten teen acne treatments that really work. Every teen will be able to find some treatment on this list.

Shower After Workout
Taking a shower after working out can help prevent body acne.


  • If you have a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to spend at the dermatologist’s office every month (or maybe just once, before a big date or a prom), you can get steroid injections that shrink pimples overnight.
  • If you don’t have any money for acne care, soap and water still help—if you use them the right way.
  • Clean towels keep you from catching other people’s skin infections and from reinfecting yourself.
  • Taking a shower within four hours after working out can prevent body acne.
  • Save powerful acne relief formulas for spot treatments instead of using them over your whole face.
  • Don’t eat dark chocolate. Milk chocolate may be OK in moderation.
  • When you can’t beat acne, hide it.
  • Eat your veggies, except for two you shouldn’t have more than once a week.
  • Avoid fast food and snacks fried in these two kinds of oil.
  • Keep your hands off your face—unless you know where they have been (and it’s somewhere they were cleaned).

1. The Rich Teen’s Acne Cure

Do you have money to burn? More specifically, do you have about $100 for each every pimple on your face? If you do, you probably can make arrangements with your dermatologist to have pimples injected with steroids. Medications like prednisone and prednisolone deflate pimples so they fall back to the contour of the skin, and redness is greatly diminished overnight. (You may still need to use concealer).

The downside to steroid treatment of pimples, other than the considerable expense of treatment not covered by health insurance, is that excessive use of steroids can thin the skin and cause permanent lightening of the skin. If you have Asian skin tones, however, steroids are often a good treatment option. Your doctor will have the final say whether steroids are right for you.

2. The Poor Teen’s Acne Cure

If spending thousands of dollars each and every month on pimple control is absolutely not for you, there is always the “cheap cleanser” method. This method just requires you to wash your skin with cleanser twice a day, but you have to wash it the right way.

First of all, you may need a slightly more expensive skin care product than a $1 bar of Dove soap. (Never use Ivory. It can clog your pores.) For just $5 or $6, you can find a decent cleanser like Neutrogena Oil-Free Makeup Removing Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin, which actually works better if you don’t wear makeup, and for about $20, you could buy Serious Skin Care Daily Ritual, Acne Medication Cleanser.

You don’t rub these products across your skin. Instead, you first wash your hands and then squirt out just a little of the product onto your fingers. Make a foamy lather of the product and spread it over your face. Let it stand on your skin for about 30 seconds and then rinse your face clean with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.

If you don’t have the $5 to $20 needed for a good acne skin cleanser, you can make do with Dove soap. But use the same cleansing technique to avoid damaging pores and creating new blemishes.

3. Clean towels.

Nobody ever cleared up acne by going to the laundromat. However, simply making sure always use a clean towel after you wash your face or shower will go a long way in acne care. If you use a clean towel every time you cleanse your face, you avoid putting dirt and germs right back on your skin, especially other people’s dirt and germs.

Don’t own enough towels to use a fresh towel every time? Fold a clean towel into quarters, and use a different part of the towel each time. This will help you use the same towel for two days for drying your face. To prevent body acne, however, it is still a good idea to use a fresh towel each and every time you shower.

4. Use Spot Treatments Instead Of Face Lotions.

Benzoyl peroxide kills acne bacteria fast. Unfortunately, it also can kill the topmost layer of delicate skin. Instead of slathering your whole face with a benzoyl peroxide lotion, use a full-strength (5% to 10%) benzoyl peroxide gel just on pimples. They won’t immediately disappear, but most teens will see them fade and disappear in one to two weeks. If you use that same 5% to 10% product on your whole face, you can experience burning, stinging, and peeling, and eventually your skin will generate as many new blemishes as benzoyl peroxide treats. Using benzoyl peroxide as a spot treatment allows you eventually to get rid of every last pimple.

5. Shower After Gym.

Teens often get a condition known as acne mechanica, or friction acne. Any activity involving skin and friction can cause acne on almost any part of the body (including some activities that are not going to be described in detail here), but the worst breakouts are usually underpads or straps worn during workouts. Tight clothing traps sweat. The perspiration makes the skin wrinkle and flake. Flakes of skin get trapped in pores and cause blackheads and pimples in odd places.

Taking a shower after a sweaty workout gets flakes of skin out of pores. You don’t need to use an expensive exfoliant. Just rubbing your skin with a shower mitt as you shower is enough.

And you don’t have to take a shower the very moment you finish your workout or game. Any time over the next four hours is soon enough.

6. Ixnay On The Ocolate-Chay.

Milk chocolate usually doesn’t cause breakouts, except in people who are allergic to chocolate, in which case breakouts won’t just occur on the face. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, increases the release of stress hormones in the skin and makes you pop out in pimples. In extreme cases, eating a single 4 oz/112 gram dark chocolate bar can cause up to 85 pimples—although it is more common for eating chocolate to result in just 8 to 25 pimples. Nonetheless, especially if you are someone who breaks out when you stress out, avoiding dark chocolate is a must.

7. If You Can’t Beat It, Hide It.

If you can’t get your pimples treated as fast as you like, you can conceal them with makeup. You can follow the standard recommendation to conceal a red pimple with green concealer and then conceal the green makeup (unless green is your color) with foundation makeup that is close to your natural skin tone. Or you can just conceal a pimple with a single layer of foundation makeup. Especially if you have oily skin, a single layer of makeup is less likely to streak around the pimple, calling more attention to it, rather than less.

8. Forget About Zapping Your Zits.

Battery-powered “zit zappers” heat a metal contact rod you hold to a pimple to shrink it. While pimples often do really shrink, the heat forces infection further into your skin and leaves you with a cyst instead of a pimple.

9. Avoid Fast Food, But Don’t Spend Your Whole Allowance At The Whole Foods Produce Counter.

It isn’t all kinds of fat that aggravate acne. It’s primarily the oils used to make snack foods and to fry fast foods, corn, soybean, and cottonseed oils. Mayonnaise, butter, cheese, and even lard are not necessarily harmful for your skin (although there are other reasons not to pig out on these foods).

And not all vegetables are good for acne. Excessive consumption of both carrots and tomatoes has been documented to increase skin oil production. Once a day is too much, but once a week is fine for you.

10. Keep Your Hands Off  Your Face.

Many teens touch their faces dozens of times every day. Make a habit of not touching your face unless you have washed your hands. You will have less acne, and your will also be less likely to get colds and flu.

And if you still need help with acne care, go for a complete acne treatment system with a one-year money-back guarantee like Exposed Skin Care.

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Dakota Reply

I was just wondering if these things actually work because, I never eat Chocolate but i still break out.

August 29, 2014 at 9:04 pm Reply
Destiny Reply

I did some of these things and I still have acne

September 1, 2015 at 11:24 pm Reply

Its a natural thing that doesn't just go away in a couple minutes or even that day. Its just how puberty is, everyone goes through it. If your the one who breaks out more than others then find an other way like special skin treatment recommended from doctors.

January 4, 2018 at 11:54 pm Reply